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Irrigation System

Farm Safety

Learn more about farm safety tips and grain bin clearances.

If you make contact with a power line, do not get out.

If you make contact with a power line, guy wire, utility pole, electrical box, or any other electrical equipment, do not get out of your cab or vehicle. Stay put and call 911 to dispatch the local utility to de-energize the power. If you must get out due to smoke or fire, make a solid jump out of the vehicle/equipment without touching any part of the vehicle/equipment and hop away as far as you can. Keep both feet together as you hop. After making a clean exit, shuffle or waddle away while keeping both feet together and on the ground. 

Call us before moving or adding a grain bin. 

The National Electrical Safety Code addresses grain bins and their proximity to power lines with very specific requirements. The requirements are in place to help keep farmers safe: to decrease the chances of farming equipment and machinery coming in contact with power lines. If you are planning on building a new grain bin or remodeling around an area that already has one, contact Western Iowa Power Cooperative. We can help with specific code requirements. The taller the grain bin, the further it must be placed from a power line! 

Use standby generators with care. 

Determine Proper Clearance. 

Contact Western Iowa Power Cooperative to measure power line heights; do NOT do this yourself. Once you know the heights, you can determine appropriate equipment clearances. Always maintain at least 10 feet between the power line and the tallest height of the equipment that will be transported. Keep in mind that due to wear, age, and even weather conditions, power lines can change height. Please contact us with any concerns. It's good to know power line clearance but always have a spotter. 

Always dig safely. 

Whether you are installing new fence posts or using large tillage tools, call 811 before you dig to have underground utilities marked. Even if you think that you know where buried gas, power, and other lines are, do not rely on your memory. Get all utilities marked so that you know for sure. Utility locators dispatched by 811 do not mark private lines. 

If you have a standby generator to provide essential power during an outage, be sure to correctly use the transfer switch. Once you properly engage the switch, it stops your farm's generated power from entering utility lines, aka back-feeding, which can electrocute lineworkers who are working to restore power. 

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Grain Bin Clearances

If you are planning to locate a new grain bin or move an existing one, please contact Western Iowa Power Cooperative. 

WIPCO will provide assistance in planning for a safe environment for everyone working and living around grain bins. The State of Iowa requires specific clearances for electric lines around grain bins, with different standards for those filled by portable and permanent augers, conveyors, and elevators. 

Review the minimum bin setback requirements from electric wires (drawings are pictured below). These are drawings of the specific clearances required for both scenarios. If you have any questions concerning these drawings, please contact WIPCO.  Disclaimer: These drawings are provided as part of Iowa electric cooperative's annual public information campaign and are based

on the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Safety Code. To view the actual drawings, refer to that publication. Every care has been taken for the corrections of the contents of these drawings. 

However, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives and its member cooperatives accept no liability whatsoever for omissions or errors, technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, or damages of any kind arising from the use of the contents of these drawings, whether textual or graphical.

According to the Iowa Electrical Safety Code found in Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 199 – 25.2(3) b. An electric utility may refuse to provide electric service to any grain bin built near an existing electric line that does not provide the clearances required by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)C2- 2017 “National Electrical Safety Code,” Rule 234F. This paragraph “b” shall apply only to grain bins loaded by portable augers, conveyors, or elevators and built after September 9, 1992, or to grain bins loaded by permanently installed augers, conveyors, or elevator systems installed after December 24, 1997. The Iowa Utilities Board has adopted this language.

Western Iowa Power Cooperative is required by the Iowa Utilities Board to provide this annual notice to farmers, farm lenders, grain bin merchants, and city/county zoning officials. If you have any questions concerning clearance regulations - or what needs to be done before you begin placing a new grain bin or moving and existing one - contact us. 

Harvest

Safe Fields. Powerful Yields. 

When you work your fields, you are not just thinking about this season; you're already sowing plans for future yields. You dedicate time and resources to decisions impacting healthy returns for generations. 

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But the most powerful resource you devote to your operation...is YOU. Safety is the number on component of a successful harvest year after year and the most valuable legacy that you can leave your family. 

Planting seeds of safety when working around power lines can be the difference between safe harvests and on interrupted by a costly contact with energized power lines. Take the time to be aware of infrastructure in, on, or above your fields. 

It's more than a field. It's a life. 

By Northern Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO)
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